Top 8 Best Backpacking Water Filters for Camping

Water is something you cannot leave out of an outdoor adventure. Backpacking water filters can provide you with much-needed, contaminant-free replenishment throughout the day. If you want to stay hydrated and free of unwanted organisms and potential diseases, then you’ll need adequate water treatment. Most people don’t know what goes into finding the right system.

Important factors include size, weight, length of treatment, and the filter you use. Even in remote areas, there are bacteria and viruses. Protozoa can trigger intestinal problems and are extremely resistant to cold conditions. Filters remove these plus bacteria and a range of particulates that can make water grainy or taste bad.

The type of filter media is important, but you also want to look at micron size. It’s technical but the basic rule is the smaller the size of the pores, the more pathogens that can be strained out. Tiny bacteria are about 0.2 microns in size so filter pores should in general be smaller than that.

Another factor is how much you can use the filter before it needs maintenance. Will it need to be cleaned, unclogged, or flushed before your camping trip is over? Look at the rated capacity before replacement is typically needed. For long distance trips, you’ll certainly need a better backpacking water filter system.

Top 8 Backpacking Water Filters for Camping

1. Sawyer Products Mini Water Filtration System

At 2 ounces, this filtration system has a 0.1 micron absolute hollow fiber membrane and removes 99.99999% of bacteria and protozoa, according to the company. It easily attaches to the drinking pouch included in the package. Also, it’s compatible with standard disposable water bottles and hydration packs. A straw is included so you can drink directly from the water source. You’ll be free of E. coli or cryptosporidium concerns during your camping excursion. Tiny U-shaped tubes permit water to enter through micro-pores, and yield a surface area giving this filter one of the fastest flow rates in the market. The filter has been successfully tested to 10 million parts of bacteria and a million parts of protozoa. No breakthroughs were reported during testing.

2. MSR Miniworks EX Microfilter

This water filter has a durable carbon/ceramic element that supports frequent, heavy use. Even under these conditions, water is safe and free of unwanted tastes. An AirSpring Accumulator is used to increase the filtration speed to 1-liter of water per minute. Even better, the carbon core is designed to remove taste and odor – even iodine, chlorine, and pesticide related tastes/odors are eliminated. The unit therefore protects against organic and chemical/toxic threats. It is also cleanable; the filter can be fully recovered and reused without any tools or decline in performance. This backpacking filter screws onto any Nalgene bottle or MSR dromedary bag. It also comes with a stuff sack, scrub pad, and hose float.

3. Katadyn Vario Water Filter

Two quarts of water per minute are cleaned in fast flow mode. To extend the life of the filter, set it to process one quart per minute. Dual piston technology maximizes output while a replaceable carbon core ensures water tastes fresh. This core continuously reduces any odors, chemicals, or toxins in the water. This is one of the easiest backpacking water filters to operate. The ceramic pre-filter, for dirty water, activates with a single turn, while the 0.3 micron pleated glass fiber filter is suited for normal conditions. Up to 500 gallons of water can be filtered depending on quality. A Cleanable ceramic disc is included, as is an adapter based that attaches to water bottles and an output hose for filling larger containers and hydration systems.

4. LifeStraw Personal Water Filter

Also ideal for removing bacteria and protozoa, this filter has an award-winning design and its waterborne bacteria removal ability surpasses EPA standards. It filters up to 1,000 liters of water. A sealed bag lets you store it until needed during camping, backpacking, hiking, or during emergencies. There are no chemicals used. The unit also doesn’t require batteries and doesn’t have moving parts that wear out. Filtering down to 0.2 microns, the product has been used during humanitarian relief efforts around the world.

5. Survival Filter® PRO 0.01 Micron Water Purifier

This high performance filter removes bacteria, dirt, chlorine, and heavy metals. A cotton filter, ultra filter, and carbon filtration and mesh provide triple filtration that’s 20 times more efficient than competing 0.2 micron products. The purifier can be used directly with any fresh water source and yields a flow rate of 500 ml per minute. Reusable, replaceable filters last for up to 264 gallons, or 1,000 water bottles. Detachable filter tubes, a drinking cup, and travel bag are included.

6. Survivor Filter®

Triple filtration down to 0.5 microns is enabled by UF filtration, carbon filtration, and mesh. Able to remove viruses, staph, and bacteria, this 3.5 ounce filter has no chemicals and can clean 1,000 plastic bottles worth of water before it is cleaned or replaced. The leak-proof unit allows secure attachment to hydration systems. You can even drink directly from the filter using the included mouthpiece and cap. Flow rate is 7 ounces per minute.

7. LifeStraw Go Water Bottle with Integrated 1000-Liter LifeStraw Filter

It filters 264 gallons of water down to 0.2 microns. That’s good enough to remove nearly all waterborne bacteria and parasites. Plus, there’s no aftertaste, chemicals, or iodine. The 23 ounce leak-proof battle is durable and lets you take water from any river, pond, or stream and have fresh drinking water.

8. Survival Personal Water Filter for Camping, Hiking, Backpacking, and Prepping

This portable purifier is BPA free, lightweight, and comes with a travel strap for easy use during hiking or backpacking. It provides .1 micron filtration for up to 396 gallons of water. Among the most simple personal backpacking water filters, it weighs less than 3 ounces and is 30% more efficient than the standard portable filtration product. It’s the perfect backup should available water become contaminated so you stay safe and healthy outdoors.

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